Rare Quahog Pearl Found in VA

Rare Quahog Pearl found in VA

Rare Quahog Pearl found in VA

NASSAWADOX, Va. -- A Virginia Beach woman is happy as a clam after finding a rare 4 1/2-carat lavender pearl in a littleneck purchased at the Great Machipongo Clam Shack in Nassawadox.

"I bit down on it and I pulled it out and said, 'Look at this,'" said Kathleen Morelli.

Billy Bowen of B&E Seafood in Willis Wharf, who has been in the clam-growing business for a quarter century, said he has never found a pearl in a clam grown through aquaculture like the one Morelli bit into.

The littleneck, grown in Hog Island Bay, likely was between 1 1/2 and 2 years old, he said.

"In the natural clams you could find them in there, about once a month you could find them. But in all my experience, I have never seen one to come out of an aquaculture clam – it's very rare," Bowen said.

The pearl's large size, found in such a small clam, makes it even more unusual.

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